Hi, sister—All alone? My name's Shapeley.
(Ellie favors him with a devastating look which is wasted on the drummer)
Might as well get acquainted. It's gonna be a long trip—gets tiresome later on. Specially for somebody like you. You look like you got class.
(he surveys her from head to foot)
Yessir! With a capital K.
(he chuckles at his own sally)
And I'm a guy that knows class when he sees it, believe you me.
― 234 ―
A close-up of ELLIE, as Shapeley's voice continues, shows her glancing back at Peter, expecting him to come to her rescue.
Ask any of the boys. They'll tell you. Shapeley sure knows how to pick 'em. Yessir. Shapeley's the name, and that's the way I like 'em.
Ellie again looks toward Peter. But PETER seems to have found something of unusual interest in his magazine . . . and we again see the harassed ELLIE and the irrepressible SHAPELEY, who continues.
You made no mistake sitting next to me.
Just between us, the kinda muggs you meet on a hop like this ain't nothing to write home to the wife about. You gotta be awful careful who you hit up with, is what I always say, and you can't be too particular, neither. Once when I was comin' through North Carolina, I got to gabbin' with a good-lookin' mama. One of those young ones, you know, and plenty classy, too. Kinda struck my fancy. You know how it is. Well, sir, you could'a knocked me over with a Mack truck. I was just warming up when she's yanked offa the bus. Who do you think she was? Huh? Might as well give up. The girl bandit! The one the papers been writin' about.
(he pulls out a cigar, and continues—awed by the recollection)
Yessir, you coulda knocked me over with a Mack truck.
(he lights his cigar, takes a vigorous puff, and turns to her again)
What's the matter, sister? You ain't sayin' much.
(intending to freeze him)
Seems to me you're doing excellently without any assistance.
(this however only brings a guffaw from the drummer)
That's pretty good . . . Well, shut my big nasty mouth!
A close-up shows ELLIE enduring more of this as Shapeley's voice continues:
. . . Looks like you're one up on me. Nothin' I like better than to meet a high-class mama that can snap 'em back at you. 'Cause the colder they are, the hotter they get, is what I always say.
Now Ellie and Shapeley are seen together, with Peter seen in the background.
Take this last town I was in. I run into a dame—not a bad looker, either—but boy, was she an iceberg! Every time I opened my kisser she pulls a ten strike on me. It sure looked like cold turkey for old man Shapeley. I sell office supplies, see? And this hotsy-totsy lays the damper on me quick. She don't need a thing—and if she did she wouldn't buy it from a fresh mugg like me. Well, says I to myself—Shapeley, you better go to work. You're up against a lulu. Well, I'm here to tell you, sister, I opened up a line of fast chatter that had that dame spinnin' like a Russian dancer. Before I got through she bought enough stuff to last the firm a year. And did she put on an act when I blew town!
Ellie has scarcely listened to him, and has divided her attention between glancing back at Peter and staring at Shapeley as if he were insane—none of which bothers Shapeley. He goes on with his merry chatter, blowing rings of smoke in the direction of the ceiling.
Yessir. When a cold mama gets hot—boy, how she sizzles! She kinda cramped my style, though. I didn't look at a dame for three towns.
Not that I couldn't. For me it's always a cinch. I got a much better chance than the local talent.
You see, they're kinda leery about the local talent. Too close to home. Know what I mean?
ELLIE has now reached the point where she could, without any compunction, strangle him.
(continuing over this glimpse of her desperation)
But take a bird like me—it's here today—and gone tomorrow. And what happens is nobody's business.
At this time she turns helplessly toward Peter, but we see PETER being deliberately oblivious of her presence, following which the three are seen, with Peter in the background.
But I don't go in for that kinda stuff—much. I like to pick my fillies. Take you, for instance. You're my type. No kiddin' sister. I could go for you in a big way. "Fun-on-the-side Shapeley" they call me, and the accent is on the fun, believe you me.
(this is all Ellie can stand)
Believe you me, you bore me to distraction.
― 236 ―
(but Shapeley merely throws his head back and emits his characteristic guffaw)
Well, you're two up on me now.
(he holds up two fingers)
Shapeley's laugh dies down. He looks dumbly up at Peter, his two fingers still held in mid-air.
(indicating his own seat)
There's a seat over there for you.
What's the idea?
I'd like to sit with my—uh—wife—if you don't mind.
(at which Shapeley's face falls)
Yeah. Come on—come on!
Oh, excuse me.
I was just tryin'—you know—to make things pleasant.
And smiling sheepishly, he sidles over to Peter's seat, his two fingers still poised in air. Peter plants himself next to Ellie and totally ignoring her, opens his magazine, and resumes his reading. Then Ellie and Peter are seen close together. She looks up at him.
If you promise not to snap my head off, I'd like to thank you.
Forget it. I didn't do it for you. His voice got on my nerves.
She feels herself crushed, and ventures no further comment as Peter resumes his interest in his magazine.
A full view of the BUS follows, and there is silence for a while as the bus slows down and comes to a stop. Almost simultaneously a boy makes his appearance, selling magazines and candy.